Book Reviews

Book by Karen D. Goodman
Review by: Michelle Bombaugh
Academic Advisor, College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Florida

Music therapy education and training: From theory to practice is a practical and comprehensive resource focused on reforming the current music therapy curriculum to best serve undergraduate and graduate students. Karen Goodman, a music therapy professor at Montclair State University, presents the academic community with a thorough and useful guide to enhance music therapy education programs.

In this book, Goodman provides an overview of the history and development of music therapy programs in the United States. Moreover, she shares “best practices” as they relate to music therapy pedagogy and curricular reform to align with the American Music Therapy Association’s Standards for Education and Clinical Training. Additionally, Goodman includes a summary of applicable teaching and learning theories, as well as a cursory synopsis of music therapy programs around the globe. As an added bonus to researchers, Goodman includes a chart of all books about music therapy published from 1954-2011 (Appendix B).

Academic departments that house music therapy programs would benefit most from this book. Department chairs, professors, and those involved in undergraduate and graduate education should pay particular attention to Goodman’s discussions on how to best provide instruction for each of the music therapy competencies (chapter two). Moreover, Goodman expands upon classroom teaching methods including experiential methods and collaborative learning techniques, providing tangible tools educators can utilize in the classroom (chapter six). Additionally, those who supervise students at internship and practicum sites can gain critical insights about how to effectively assist their students in mastering preprofessional clinical competencies.

Although this book is geared towards educators, academic advisors for music therapy and related fields, as well as career counselors (both at the high school and college level), can benefit as well. Goodman provides insight into the undergraduate (p. 10) and graduate programs offered in the United States (p. 12, 14), standard admissions requirements (p. 158), and characteristics of students who pursue music therapy as a field (p. 157). Additionally, chapter six provides an overview of teaching and learning theories that apply to any classroom regardless of discipline.

One caution to those who are interested in reading this book: the author assumes that the reader possesses a pre-existing knowledge of music competencies as well as music therapy practices. Although I majored in music at my undergraduate institution and am familiar with music therapy as a field, I still found it difficult to understand some aspects of the book. Nevertheless, I garnered a greater appreciation of the field of music therapy and the importance of curricular reforms to effectively educate undergraduate and graduate students.


Music therapy education and training: From theory to practice. (2011). Book by Karen D. Goodman. Review by Michelle Bombaugh. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas Publisher. 342 pp., $74.95 (hardback), ISBNL: 978-0-398-08609-1

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